Exchange to University of Connecticut – by Melanie Murdock

I found out about the opportunity to go overseas for a semester after talking to a friend who described it as the “best experience of his life so far”. From that day onwards I promised myself that I too would experience a semester abroad. As I had travelled to Europe on a gap year several years before, I had already decided that the USA should be my next point of travel. The option of exchange was the perfect opportunity to enable me to travel yet also delve into an unfamiliar culture. I opted for the University of Connecticut and on arrival I was immediately rewarded by the vast difference in the campus to the UoA. For starters there was mounds of snow on the ground.

Storrs is a true college town with the UConn campus basically being the town. There was an enormous sense of community on campus with everyone proud to bleed blue as a Husky. There was no better way to illustrate this pride and passion than through a sporting event or the almost uniform of husky merchandise the students were forever seen wearing. UConn dominated at Basketball and many of the games were attended over the semester. Furthermore the women’s team won their 10th National title whilst I was there!

With a student population of 31,000, UConn offered a massive range of sporting and recreational activities, ranging from basketball to hosting a drag queen show to sky diving. Due to the insane coldness of UConn, it reached -24 degrees several times when there, I didn’t take up the opportunity to play a sport, however, I would highly recommended to get involved in one of the vast amount of sports offered if you’re there in the summer semester.

There was a bountiful 28 residency halls at UConn ranging from dormitories to houses. I was lucky enough to stay in the Garrigus suites which included 2 triple bedrooms and a bathroom. Alongside these residency halls there were eight dining halls, this meant that you were never far from unlimited access to food. The dining halls would continuously keep meals interesting with different themes and also different “bars,” the pasta and sundae bar being my absolute favourites.

The location of UConn made it ideal to travel. With New York and Boston both being less than a 3 hour bus ride away we got to explore some of the most famous cities in the world multiple times. Another enormous positive of exchange is the eagerness of other exchange students to travel too therefore you’re never without a travel buddy or group. During the semester I was fortunate enough to travel to NYC (5 times), Boston, Pennsylvania, Montreal, Miami and Chicago. We also made several trips out to the nearest city of Hartford to watch basketball and ice hockey games but also to visit a friend’s family home and join in with their festivities.

I would definitely state to anyone that also it’s been the best experience of my life so far.

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